At the end of this week my contract of my first (full-time) job comes to an end. This did not end well and I'm not really on good term with my (soon to be ex-)boss. I am worried that when applying for a new job they are going to want to reference my last job. I don't really want this as i'm scared that this will not be a positive reference, but I can't leave this off of my resume as this is the only noteworthy job I have had so far.

Should I add the job to my resume, add it without reference or am I overthinking this?

I live in the Netherlands, my work field is IT and my company is about 5-6 people.

For full context about the situation see first and second questions.


2 Answers 2


Definitely list it - it shows you were working and gaining experience, and gaps in your resume are arguably worse than bad companies unless you have a very good reason for them. Interviewers will almost certainly ask about any gaps on your resume, which means you'll end up telling them about the company anyway, it just makes it look like you were trying to hide the information from them. That's definitely not a good look!

Instead, list it, and when they ask about it and/or why you left, be prepared to discuss what happened there. Try to remain professional when doing so - a little honesty here will get you further than trying to hide the previous role, and additionally it will provide some context when you explain why you're not likely to receive a reference from the company.

In terms of references, try to line up two or three really good character references - particularly people who may have had experience of seeing your work output (perhaps a colleague at your last job if there was anyone there you got on well with, or failing that, perhaps a teacher, or anyone you may have done any voluntary work for). It's not an ideal situation to have a single job on your resume with no reference, but it's also not a unique situation. It happens, and I'm assuming your next role will be relatively junior, and so that kind of situation is expected.

  • This might be off-topic and get removed, but I was at a "big-name" company for 1.5 months before quitting without notice because it was an awful experience. Would you recommend still listing it?
    – user101803
    Commented Mar 26, 2019 at 19:53
  • I would say it depends. If you have any other roles on your resume where you stayed for a longer period, then you can always list it and just be candid about your reasons for leaving. However, for such a short period of time, it might not be worth it - a 1.5 month gap is pretty easy to ignore/explain away, anything over (I would say) 3 months is harder to explain.
    – delinear
    Commented Mar 27, 2019 at 16:28

This is indeed a tricky situation, but the answer is going to be: always list all the experiences you have.

  • The good ones will show your capabilities
  • The bad ones can also show your capability (you failed and you learnt a lesson or two from your mistakes).

In case you have someone else (other co-worker) than you boss, or someone from management, who can vouch for you, list them as reference.

In case you don't have any, leave out the reference part, and if asked, simply mention that the work experience and the separation process was not smooth and you don't have someone to put forward as a reference at this moment. Given the small size of the organisation (4-5 people), I believe the interviewer would understand. One point, do not badmouth the previous employer, just mention that because of the not-so-good relationship, you don't have a reference for that particular position in that company.

Oh, and in general, if you have some reference from any of the previous jobs (part-time , internship) - list them as additional references.

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